Letter to the editor: Free trade vs. unfair trade
A number of America’s trading partners have long engaged in unfair trading practices against us, some quite blatantly. This should not be news to anybody. At the same time, we’ve been told by the smart people that, not to worry, free trade floats all boats and is so important that we should not bother to redress these predatory practices. We’ve been hearing this quite a lot since President Trump has begun imposing tariffs to combat these inequities. This puzzles me.
In his commentary “ No need for government to manage international trade ” (Sept. 10, TribLIVE), Donald J. Boudreaux explains the advantages of free trade within our country, and then asks rhetorically why foreign trade is any different. I.e., he claims there are no pertinent disanalogies between domestic and foreign trade. So how does he explain anti-trust laws? We have them in this country to police against unfair trade practices, but there is no effective measure like that governing foreign trade. Except, that is, for tariffs. (The World Trade Organization is apparently pretty impotent.) Does Boudreaux think anti-trust laws are unnecessary? (Some economists do so believe.) If not, he would have to support the use of tariffs.
So what gives? What am I missing?
Arthur F. Moeller
St. Clair Township